Heritage Hall Named

We are pleased to announce a significant legacy pledge of $600,000 as part of our Cultivating Excellence Capital Campaign. We want to honor this pledge by naming our Heritage Hall for Drs. Gordon and Karen Hatcher. Dr. Gordon Hatcher is a 1957 graduate of Central. He recently shared with President Marshall that he has served in many fine educational institutions but none compared to the quality, caring, and formative experience he had at Central. Gordon and Karen want to honor this experience at Central with their legacy gift.

A few years ago Dr. Hatcher shared his reflections on his time at Central. Part of his story was published in the June 2008 issue of The Voice. Below is the complete reflection on his Central experience.

Memory Making and Spiritual Shaping

Some 53 years ago I arrived at CBTS to begin what I now know to be memory making and spiritual shaping experiences. I was a very young fundamentalist who had a great passion for Christ but whose methods of expressing that care needed fine tuning. I was respected as a person and there was room for me to be who I was and who I was becoming. Very quickly I knew that I was a part of community of freedom, devotion, and scholarship where the passion of my heart and the inquisitiveness of my mind would be refined by strong and talented scholars in and of the faith. My interaction with students, faculty and administrators confirmed that CBTS was a seminary where faith, hope, passion and rigorous academic standards and Biblical scholarship resided.

Time and space will not permit me to name students with whom I prayed, worshiped, and studied but I must speak of how CBTS allowed us to spread our spiritual wings. Our professors challenged us to reach new heights of learning and understanding and to go deep within ourselves to connect with the Spirit of God. Devotion and scholarship were not housed in Ivory Towers. From CBTS, messengers and missionaries were sent to Iowa, Arkansas, and the states surrounding Kansas City.

However, I will take the time and space to place before you some of those faculty members who brought knowledge, wisdom, and a practical faith to a banquet feast open to all and who were prominent in my memory making and spiritual shaping.

Dr. Ackley in his gentle, firm, and keen sense of hope focused bright light of scholarship on the Old Testament. The prophets and poets of the Old Testament sparkled with new meanings. God’s promises were made relevant and real.

Dr. Unmack was another great teacher. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the New Testament brought Christ right into the classroom and into our minds and hearts.

 Dr. Young arrived at Central at the same time as I. I am not a linguist so Greek was Greek to me. Hebrew required my best which fell far short from acceptable. Dr. Young with his profound knowledge and personal touch guided my desires to know the written and living Word in such a manner that the Word became even more real and I did experience the written word in my own language. For me he made known and unknown own tongue.

Dr. Crozier made the mystery of history a life-long recognition and appreciation of the God in and of history. Through his lenses there was a glimpse of politics in religion and religion in politics. What valuable tools to have in today’s religious and political world.

Dr. Losh painted a picture of worship that included intricate details through which the image of God would be magnified. Dr. Blunt was the only professor of homiletics that I had who stressed the care of the preacher’s voice and the importance of the preacher’s hygiene as significant components in the preacher’s preaching. He emphasized how expository preaching and public praying were to reveal the heart and word of God.

Dr. Muncy opened ears to hear the call of missions in our own lives. Dr. Hixson provided insight into the nuts and bolts of Christian education. He made Christian Education the setting for the delivery of the hope that is in Christ. Dr. McBride’s knowledge of rural churches became even more useful as the years of ministry have passed. His sharing of his insights then is most helpful now in my ministry with rural churches.

Many memories and shapings were made at CBTS. For me the most important of them are:
  • Concentrate on the essentials of Christianity.
  • Communicate with compassion, scholarship and logic.
  • Speak in known tongues.
  • Live positively. Make positive use of negative events or people.
  • Avoid trying to put God in a box.
  • Remember God is BIG enough to take your angers, doubts, fears, sorrows, and defeats.
Forgive me if this sounds like a eulogy. Far from that! Central is alive and well! This is my way of describing the foundation upon which CBTS is built. These are my words of appreciation for welcoming, nurturing, and giving me the foundation for His ministry as pastor, chaplain, pastoral counselor, marriage and family therapist, educator and evangelists.

May these recollections of memory making and spiritual shaping widen our vision that we will as graduates and friends of CBTS continue to support CBTS, our seminary, in memory making and spiritual shaping of generations to come?

Rev. Gordon M. Hatcher (1957)
Retired; Grove, Oklahoma